“Children know perfectly well that unicorns aren’t real, but they also know that books about unicorns, if they are good books, are true books.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin
There are lots of things being said on the Interwebs about THE HUNGER GAMES. I have spent some time reading all of these differing opinions on the film and it is making me think about the function of fiction. Why do we tell stories? We humans have been spinning yarns for as long as we have been humans. Our entire history as a species is based on our ability to learn through shared stories. It is no coincidence that our oldest writings are fables. Greek mythology, the Ramayana, Gilgamesh of Sumeria, the Torah, and Beowulf are all still around with us today because they teach us truth about ourselves and others and they do it in the best way possible -- with a story.
The complaints I am hearing about THE HUNGER GAMES are mainly about how the movie should have "taught" something. Some think it should have explained how ecological disasters brought on societal collapse. Some think it should have pointed out how bad it is to kill teenagers by showing every death in slow-motion detail. Some identify it as a branch of the Occupy movement. Some believe it to be a strong message for traditional Conservatism. Some think it should have been more pointedly satirical, blatantly pointing out the parallels in the film to current-day events.
I think THE HUNGER GAMES did exactly what it was supposed to do, and that is to tell a story about people. Katness is someone who sticks in your brain. She is someone you think about and take with you. All the wonderful characters around her are also people you care about, people who you see yourself reflected in. I don't think one changes the world by telling people how to change. I don't think that's the function of art. But, you can express yourself by doing exactly what people have been doing around campfires since the beginning of time - you can tell a story. Anything and everything after that is someone else's story to tell.